Back to the future at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Picture: REUTERS
Back to the future at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Picture: REUTERS

Las Vegas — Exoskeletons to give wearers super-human strength and games to playfully teach children software skills for coding — such innovations were on display at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week.

Mechanical muscle

A Guardian XO exoskeleton made in a collaboration between Sarcos Robotics and Delta Air Lines let CES-goers easily lift a 22.7kg suitcase with one hand with “technology fit for a superhero”.

The battery-powered body suit carries its own weight and “handles the heavy lifting” for wearers, according to Delta. Workers wearing the suit may be able to lift up to 90.7kg for as long as eight hours straight without strain or effort, according to Delta, which plans to have baggage handlers test the exoskeleton.

Meanwhile, Panasonic touted its own “support robot” exoskeletons that will be used by support crews to tote weights and other heavy equipment for competitors at the coming Paralympics in Tokyo.

Playing at code

My Creativity Box showed off a “Mochi” game that playfully takes children’s eyes off screens while teaching them software coding skills. Mochi kits let children create a robotic ride for a plush toy bear and command it according to stories in a book.

Subject themes include shapes, colours, animals and numbers.

“My three-year-old daughter and I came up with the idea,” said Creativity Box technology chief Mihran Vardanyan. “It’s a screenless experience, so children are not getting addicted to screens, plus they learn about coding and other useful subjects.”

‘Frozen’ software smarts

Aspiring software savants of any age were invited to “enter the magic coding kingdom” with an online learning scheme created in partnership with Disney.

The Disney Codeillusion program freshly launched in the US uses an array of popular Disney film characters to make learning how to write computer code more entertaining.

“For example, with Frozen you can learn how to create Elsa's snow magic,” Life is Tech USA CEO Satoshi Miyagawa said while demonstrating the teaching tool. “For Zootopia, you create a website to recruit new police officers.”

The online courses were created with school-age children in mind, but partner Life is Tech caught on that lots of adults are interested in code and want a fun way to learn the skills.

“We wanted to build a bridge from children coding to adult coding, and keep learners motivated,” Miyagawa said of the program, which is priced at $1,900.

‘Sound of the future’

Oscar-winning composer Giorgio Moroder debuted a piece created in a collaboration with FPT Industrial to serve as a sound for silent vehicles, such as electric cars, that are replacing noisy combustion engines. “And now you know the engine is working,” Moroder exclaimed after a crowd heard his automotive-engine composition for the first time.


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